Carl Frampton wasn’t perfect in a tune-up return today against short-notice opponent Darren Traynor, but even fighting well above his natural weight as a lightweight, he got the job done and finished Traynor in the seventh round at York Hall.
Frampton (28-2, 16 KO) had at least a little trouble with the height, reach, and somewhat surprising patience of Traynor (16-4, 7 KO) early on, but started to find his rhythm clearly in the fifth round or so. He dropped Traynor late in the sixth on a body shot, and finished him off with another one two minutes into the seventh round. That time, Traynor didn’t actually go down, but as soon as the shot landed he backed down and waved himself off to referee Michael Alexander.
The 33-year-old Frampton, who has won world titles at 122 and 126 pounds, is now targeting a third belt at 130 pounds, with WBO titleholder Jamel Herring in his sights. The two were meant to fight earlier this year before COVID got in the way, and Herring is now set to return on Sept. 5 against Jonathan Oquendo, a fight that has been scrapped twice due to Herring testing positive for COVID.
Promoter Bob Arum has said that if Frampton won today and Herring wins in a few weeks, barring any injuries or the like, he’s got a date lined up for them in November. Frampton has held up his end, now it’s on Herring.
Michael Conlan TKO-10 Sofiane Takoucht
Conlan, 28, eventually got the stoppage here, rocking the French opponent in the final round until referee Steve Gray stopped it at 1:54. Takoucht survived a while but was never what you’d call competitive, which is not so much that Conlan (14-0, 8 KO) was dominating, just that Takoucht (35-5-1, 13 KO) is nowhere near as good as his record, which we learned last year when Josh Warrington got him out in two rounds.
Conlan gets a lot of mixed reaction from various circles. If you’re Top Rank or ESPN or MTK Global hyping him up, he’s a ring genius superstar in the making. But as a prospect, he’s old, turning 29 in November, and he hasn’t really stepped up the competition. He’s also talking about moving down to 122 pounds, where the WBO moved him in rankings as a political maneuver, but, y’know, we’ll see if that lasts past the point Emanuel Navarrete and Jessie Magdaleno fight for the vacant WBO belt at 126.
Conlan lost two points in this fight, one in the fourth and one in the fifth, for repeated low blows, and he was flirting with a DQ, but he also pretty clearly won every round in this fight. Conlan’s upside is still somewhat in question, but this is more compared to the incessant hype on him than a reflection of his skill. There’s no question he’s a good boxer, there is serious question if he can live up to the hype he’s been given, but he’s unbeaten and winning his fights handily, even if it’s never in the most thrilling fashion.
Trainer Adam Booth believes Conlan is ready for a world title fight, saying he’d take one for the Belfast native right now.
Archie Sharp PTS-10 Jeff Ofori
Referee’s score was 96-95 for Sharp, the 25-year-old 130-pound prospect. We had this 97-93 for Sharp, but he wasn’t impressive, and he got a real verbal lashing from Tim Bradley Jr in particular on the ESPN broadcast. And you can see why.
Sharp (19-0, 9 KO) has some skills, but he doesn’t execute well all the time, and he had trouble doing much good work with Ofori (10-3-1, 3 KO), but luckily Ofori didn’t do enough in return to clearly win, either. This probably could have gone either way. Ofori didn’t close distance well enough, and Sharp didn’t use distance well enough. Wasn’t much to watch as entertainment, either.
Sharp is a very confident young fighter, believes he’s ready for the next level, but I tend to agree with Bradley that he’d get thrashed at the next level right now. He just makes too many mistakes, and the opponents he’s faced haven’t been good enough to make him pay. Others will be if he doesn’t tighten up. But there’s also the chance he rises to the occasion against tougher foes, too. It happens. And you could tell Sharp wasn’t particularly pleased with his own performance here, either, so maybe a lackluster outing will inspire him.
Troy Williamson UD-10 Harry Scarff
Williams (15-0-1, 11 KO) was the favored man here, solidly but not overwhelmingly, and he is arguably lucky to have gotten the scores. Judges had it 96-95, 96-94, and 97-94 for Williamson, while we had it 96-94 for the underdog Scarff.
This wasn’t a robbery, mind you. This was a tight fight with a lot of rounds that really could have gone either way. Scarff (8-2, 1 KO) brought pressure throughout, but he wasn’t dominating Williamson or anything. For me, Williamson wasn’t doing enough clean work in return to win enough of the rounds against Scarff’s pressure, but you can also argue Scarff wasn’t doing a lot of damage or anything, I suppose. I thought without Williamson doing much really notable work in return, Scarff’s aggression nicked six of the rounds, but my card doesn’t count in the end.
It’s a second straight loss for the 27-year-old Scarff, who was beaten by Anthony Fowler last November. Williamson, 28, is an OK fighter but looks like he’d probably struggle against Britain’s best at 154 — the likes of Scott Fitzgerald, Ted Cheeseman, Fowler, even a Sam Eggington.
Paddy Donovan TKO-1 Des Newton
Donovan is a 21-year-old welterweight prospect from Limerick, Ireland, someone Bob Arum is high on at Top Rank, or at least says he is, I really have no idea if Bob Arum himself has ever seen the kid fight. I mean, probably, but would it shock me if he hadn’t? No.
But Donovan (4-0, 3 KO) is a real prospect, has the look, could draw well in the States and in Ireland if he puts it together and keeps advancing. He took care of Newton (8-16, 2 KO) pretty easily here, dropping the 32-year-old journeyman in about 45 seconds on a shot to the head, then finished him off at 1:31 of the opening round with a lovely right hook to the body.